Luke Walton Backs D’Angelo Russell After Damian Lillard’s Comments
Luke Walton Backs D’angelo Russell After Damian Lillard’s Comments

Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell claimed he did not see Damian Lillard’s comments regarding their incident during Tuesday night’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, resulting in double technicals in the third quarter. Comments, in which, Lillard not only suggested dirty play from Russell, but also that any further issues could be determined off the court.

When a reporter summarized Lillard’s comments, Russell replied that he had “no response.” As a refresher, below are Lillard’s comments, transcribed from his post-game video posted on CSN Northwest:

“As far as that situation, I mean, since last game, he’s been doing little slick elbows,” Lillard said of Russell. “And, I play the game clean, I’m from Oakland. I ain’t with that extra stuff and nobody can just do what they want to me. I got called for a foul to start the third quarter for reaching in, but when I reached in, the only reason there was contact is cause his elbow came up again. After he blocked my shot, I was walking to my spot, and I felt like he went out of his way to get that elbow in there again, and I told him, ‘That ain’t gonna fly,’ and I wasn’t interested in anything else that was said after that. We ain’t going to do it on the court, so we’ll be in the back and whatever happens, happens. He poked the bear and you see what happened the rest of the game. I don’t know what made him feel like that was going to be accepted, or like I wouldn’t take exception to that, I took it as a challenge.”

At Wednesday’s practice, head coach Luke Walton said in the film that he watched (though he prefaced it by saying the tape was not high-definition) he did not see any dirty elbows thrown, nor anything that warranted Lillard’s comments to resume any issues “in the back.”

“First of all…taking it outside? C’mon we’re out here competing. Our team is trying to win, his team is trying to win. I don’t think it should ever get to that level,” Walton said of Lillard’s comments. “I thought D’Angelo competed his butt off last night. I told him last night after the game I was really happy with how he was getting after it. Obviously, I never would encourage dirty play, but from what I see I didn’t see any of it.”

When Walton was pressed further:

“As long as he’s competing I’m fine with some trash talk, whatever it is,” Walton said of Russell. “And I thought he was competing last night, so if his emotions lead him to do that, while he’s competing, then I have no problem with it.

This wasn’t the only incident to happen with the Lakers recently. Jordan Clarkson was fined $15,000 for hitting Goran Dragic in the head with his forearm, during the Lakers victory over the Miami Heat last week.

“It’s just we don’t want to take nothing from nobody,” Clarkson said. “We’re not backing down from nobody.”

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